News / Africa

Polling Underway in Nigeria

People register to vote in Lagos, Nigeria, April 26, 2011
People register to vote in Lagos, Nigeria, April 26, 2011

Voting is underway in Nigeria after last week's presidential election touched off rioting in some northern states.

Nigerian voters were accredited at polling stations Tuesday before casting their ballots for statewide offices. It is the third and final round of voting in nationwide elections to choose lawmakers and a president as well.

Goodluck Jonathan was re-elected president in a vote last week after which supporters of opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari attacked churches, homes and police stations, sparking reprisal attacks by Christians.

The human rights group, the Civil Rights Congress of Nigeria, says at least 500 people were killed in that violence.

Police say Easter Sunday bomb blasts in the city of Maiduguri that killed three people and wounded 14 were the work of the Islamic group Boko Haram, which has been fighting for the past two years to establish an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

There were three more bombs in Maiduguri Tuesday, but police say there were no casualties. The group is attacking police and religious leaders because it says they wrongly associate with a federal government that it is trying to sabotage Islam.

President Jonathan has increased security ahead of these elections for Nigeria's powerful state governors.

Voter Faith Ororo says security was better than during the presidential poll.

"Not like before, the security arrangement is very, very OK," said Ororo. "Voting materials are all complete. There is no problem. I am very satisfied. Everything is going to be free and fair. It is going to be one man, one vote."

Electoral commission chief Attahiru Jega postponed voting in the northern states of Kaduna and Bauchi until Thursday because he says that will allow for the "further cooling of tempers" and for the security situation in those states to improve.

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